Fun, Family-Friendly Bonding Activities for the Fall

Ahh, the crisp air, the changing leaves in vibrant hues, the pumpkins, sweaters and apple picking – these are the gifts of fall!

Families looking for fun, bonding activities during the fall have a plethora of options to explore, many of which are also budget-friendly. Below is a list of 20 family-friendly activities and some suggestions for making each activity a positive bonding experience you will all cherish.

Apple picking: Make apple picking with the family a yearly tradition. Take a photo of your family near the same tree every fall and watch the changes from year to year.

Pumpkin carving/painting: Put each family member’s name in a hat and have each person draw a name. Create a pumpkin for the person whose name you drew; it can be a caricature of the person, a goofy face or some other idea.

Corn maze: There are so many corn mazes around and some have riddles and clues to lead your family through the pattern to the end. If you have older children in your family, it might be fun to create teams to see who can reach the end of the maze first.

Hay rides: Local farms and orchards offer hay rides, some with Halloween themes. If you have grandparents in your family who may not be able to walk an entire corn maze, a hay ride would be a great way to include them in the fun.

Jumping in piles of leaves: Rake up leaves in the yard and jump into them, burying ourselves in the crispy leaves. Little ones enjoy jumping in leaves and it is a safe, free activity that can entertain for hours.

Fall scavenger hunt: Have each member of your family write down one to two outdoor items (rocks, acorns, a leaf) for the scavenger hunt and combine all of them into one list. When all of the items are found, work together on creating a collage with the objects.

Face painting: Whether preparing for Halloween or just playing at home, face painting is a fun, inexpensive bonding activity. Also, try blind-folded face painting if you’re feeling extra brave.

Wax paper leaf pressing: Find pretty fall leaves of varying colors and shave off contrasting crayon colors. Arrange the leaves and crayon shavings on waxed paper, placing another piece of waxed paper on top, and iron them together until bonded.

Family team: Rally the family to play a game of baseball, basketball or volleyball. If you’re feeling competitive, create teams and chose names for each team. Losing team cooks dinner!

Plan a dinner-costume party: Each member of the family comes to dinner dressed in a costume. Guess one another’s costumes in 20 questions format.

Geocaching: This activity requires a hand-held GPS unit (you may have an app for that!) Geocaching websites list a large number of caches available in your area, listed by difficulty and GPS coordinates. Maybe you will find a challenging cache in your neighborhood; the search is a great problem-solving/mystery activity for your family.

Ghost stories by firelight: If you have a safe area for a small campfire in your yard, set up an evening ghost story event, complete with S’mores and your creepiest, scariest stories. If you don’t have an outdoor venue, shut off all of the lights and use candles or flashlights for your ghost story-themed evening.

Create a family cookbook: Do you have an aunt who makes the best cookies, or a grandparent whose home made donuts are incredible? Start a family cookbook, gathering recipes from your own family and extended family.

Ski-lift leaf-peeping: Often, ski resorts offer a fall leaf peeping ski lift ride. Bundle up the family and ride up the mountain to gaze at the pretty leaves. Imagine the family-selfie possibilities with that landscape as a back drop.

Do a good deed together: As a family, decide on a good deed you can do for someone in need; maybe you have an elderly neighbor or family member who could use some help with yard work, or volunteer at the soup kitchen as a family for an evening.

Take a class together: Find a workshop or class that your entire family would enjoy and sign up. Would you enjoy learning a new type of dance, tennis lessons or a gourmet cooking class?

Game night: Set aside a night every week to play interactive games as a family (screen free). Break out the old standby’s. Monopoly, Life even a game of Go-Fish can be a good change of pace.

Back yard obstacle course: Create your own back yard obstacle course using materials you already have. Have each family member come up with a challenge for the obstacle course, such as walking across a narrow board without touching the ground or hopping through a maze on one foot.

Learn from each other: For one week, designate each family member an afternoon or evening to teach the family how to do something that they are good at. Allow each person to come up with their own lesson and tell other family members what they may need to bring in order to learn this skill.

Household jam fest: Everybody grab something around the house to make music with; the weirder, the better! Maybe a pan and a wooden spoon is your idea of a good instrument, or two hair brushes being clapped together. See what creative sounds you and your family can make with regular household items.

Enjoy your fall festivities!

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